Our Goodwill Guide in Osaka was walking us down “the longest street in Japan” on the one cold and rainy day of our trip when we passed a pachinko parlor and my consort, Mr. Curious, asked if we could check it out. We stepped inside and my world was instantly rocked. After more than a week of living largely in real life, seeing and experiencing rather than compulsively clicking and reacting, I had just been transported into IRL Twitter. It was loud, a steady, rhythmic din of slot machines, like the firehose feel when everyone is responding to something either newsworthy or stupid (or, these days: both). It was too bright and too young and too neon-y but somehow still dark. It was smoky, very smoky, and even that felt right despite the fact that Japan has pretty much ostracized old-style nicotine addicts — assholes can always get through. It had everything but my keyboard and the instant notifications/gratification. I was almost vibrating.
Then I saw the writing on the wall:
This space overflows with dreams, hopes, stimulation and excitement
Dramatic developments await you
Please be released from everyday life and enjoy yourself free.
May the fortunate goddess smile at you.
@Jack could not have put it more insidiously better.
I was still scribbling that down when Bob reacted the way he did at Churchill Downs back in the early days of the consortium when I once won a few bucks on a horse. The same guy who insisted I get on Twitter (“if you do the cat book, you can drum up interest in it”) grabbed me by the arm and said: “We’re getting out of here.”
And here I sit, with the sound off.
The softer the tortilla the longer the ingredient list. // You can tell exactly what the food will be like when the menu lists prices ending in .95 — no one is fooled. // I own a caper spoon. // “Outrage of the Youngs” will definitely not involve Chianti. Maybe favas.
Imagine being nearly 80 years old and typing “yummy skills.” // No birth control like high chairs at happy hour. // Friend IRL served squash blossoms, two ways for dinner the other night. I told her forced-birthers couldn’t eat ‘em: fetal zucchini. // If your app takes your flack two screens of text to explain, maybe pitch it into the trash? // Explosive flavor sounds like an Ex-Lax promise. // Agriculture secretary sez food stamps “should not be the whole enchilada” for recipients. Dog-whistle much? // GOP tax cuts are just golden showers all over again. Free salt for the peed-ons. // One more reason never, ever to elect a teetotaler. He doesn’t care about wine people. // I will never forgive him for depriving us of taco trucks on every corner . . .
When you’re out of tortillas, you’re out of breakfast, lunch and dinner. // Cannelloni are Italian enchiladas. // Heard a woman in Chipotle asking for rice in her hard-shell taco. That shit doesn’t even belong in burritos. // Someone could do a whole graduate thesis on @alexstupak’s crab nachos with uni “queso.” College dropouts like me can only marvel. #trailTK
Somewhere in that big kitchen in the sky, Pierre and Julia are weeping in their whites and wine. From coattails to contrails. // The fud world has its own Carly. She just drops better brand names. // All whole ducks should come with a can of oven cleaner. // Kinda amusing that Christie’s shit sandwich was meatloaf. // Trying to figure out why anyone would want “zero alcohol” mouthwash. // Consort insisted we set the timer for roasting the beets. Does not have “six days” setting. // Your food video is (almost always) cuttable. // Would rather tip in cookies than cash even though the latter would be cheaper. // Have to say: Seeing “this video sponsored by ConAgra” in the middle of your tough news reporting does give me pause . . . // How you know you’ve lived too long: You know the Frug coulda been made respectable.
Chivalry is not dead: Guy in “unisex” bathroom line at @paowallanyc offered to let me go first. I said no, he’d be quicker. Him: “You assume.” // Chef loses control of a business with his name and it’s just stenographed. Only the Who is answered; the four other Ws go missing. // Parody getting tougher: Consort brought home a menu from Santa Fe from a place serving “artisanal American dim sum.” Not sustainable? // Today in I Heart NY: Told the egg lady at the Tucker Square Greenmarket I had just enough cash left for a dozen & she said I could pay her tomorrow on Columbus if I wanted to keep shopping. // Something about scooping out a litter box every a.m. makes you see fud photos kinda . . . differently.
Tumors or cauliflower? And which ones are malignant? // If the menu says Tuscan kale, those leaves had better be crinkly. // Two levels of no-copy-editors-left: Mr. Meyer is not “the chef behind Shake Shack.” // You know what tomatoes are really good in winter? Canned. // Hand pies always sound kinda dirty. // If someone walks into your place and asks “Are you making kimchi?” you’d better hope you are. // Mystery of winemaking: Why Americans would waste vines and time on insipid pinot grigio. #ohiknow // Finally baked a four-month-old buttercup squash. And it tastes grass-fed. Not in a good way, either. // And: We live in the age of $11 carrot appetizers . . .
The most dispiriting cuisine is Sysco-to-table. And you can always tell by the lobster ravioli on the menu. // Now this is an ad (although I wonder what the wingnuts in the trailers who face retirement living on cat food will make of it). // One of those nights to ponder how much better the fud world would be if Chef 1-2-3 had not turned down the gig. #everythingmonster // New rule on booking guests to discuss farmers’ markets: Ask when last s/he went to one. #seasonschange // The biggest file in my crammed office has to be meaningless menus (I have clung to). // Pretty clear that most Americans who say “looks like Calcutta” have never eaten in Kolkata. // Prosecco is the best sparkling water. // A Communion-size pour of rosé should at least come in a spotless glass. // Given that someone once actually died at a boozy event, maybe not reach for a “how to survive” hed? // Consort brought home the first edible Clif bar ever, a freebie handed out in what was once known as Needle Park. Coat a Payday Bar in chocolate and you’re talking brown power. // Why in holy hell would you put cannellini beans in potato salad? For the after-effects? // Do they have National Daiquiri Day in Cuba, or are they spared lobbyists? // Can’t say it enough: An egg is not a chicken. // And it’s probably good thing the media mob never heard AA Gill killed a baboon. . .
If cats had a cocktail, it would be called the Hurlicane. // New rule should not even have to be stated: You cannot go into resto PR unless you know it’s not spelled prefix or pre fixe or price-fixed. // No such thing as an expert in vegan diets. // Even Eve’s stomach had to knot up at the thought of cider-flavored vodka. Drink Calvados, FFS. // Anyone covering inequality should know the price of a lemon. // Can’t count how many people who got paid to trick pinot grigio out for Cinco de Mayo. All need better meds, tho. // 30 years on from Pierre Franey and now you tell us fish is scary? // What kind of asshole insults a customer waiting to pay? A rent-a-cop asshole working for Eataly. // Rillettes are the hot dogs of high-end food — the toasts (buns) never match the meat/fish. // And you never want to look at a slider at a party and want to call @billmarler.
Sorry, no ingredient should ever be described as a chef’s wet dream. // Remember when Guy Fieri in Times Square just shut down in shame when shamed? Yeah. Me, too. #ayernacido // So where are the stories on asp broth? This spring I have tossed out enough spear bottoms to make gallons. // Every spring I joke about starting a contest just so I can collect all the entry fees. I’d clean up faster than a foundation. Award for most crowded: MFK category. // Can’t say this enough: There is no N in restaurateur. // Wonder how much the movie theater pays the guy who sold me the $6.50 sachet of movie popcorn the other night. // Shouldn’t icebox cake come into the 21st century? And be frig cake? (Or would that trigger porn detectors?)
I’m not sure saying someone is “in good spirits” is so wise as a rehab update. // Poundcake is a P word, like potpie. As in, one word. // Is “butcher’s bone broth” made from a butcher’s femur? // Mock hollandaise mocks back. // I have to hand it to the toilet advertiser who approved the “after-dinner ware” hed. // “Grocerant” is language abuse. Unless you’re talking insects in the salad aisle. // More heds like this, pls: “Jail time in salmonella case.” // Time to drink the hemlock: They’re talking kale cocktails. // The Cruz Control I spotted on a Phila cocktail menu really should be made with rum, not tequila. // When you resort to “Say Cheese” as a hed, you’ve officially reached the limits of your imagination.
Ideal implement for cracking Turkish pistachios? MOMA letter opener. // I’m enjoying imagining the Sysco truck traveling the back roads, searching in vain for a resto not supplied locally. // In Pierre Franey we can always trust. // Food photos should never look like an unscooped litter box. Unless you want to be video’d. // Pope sez he wishes he could go out and eat pizza. Fud world wishes it could trash him for doing it wrong. // Kinda shitty for a new Californian to say the magic ingredient in a pasta dish is water when the state has only a year’s supply left . . . // And NYC chefs really need to start smoking butter.
Just learned the best word ever for kids: crotchfruit. ($Palin’s, of course.) // Behind paywall, but WSJ has a good story on Citymeals helping olds with their teeth. Can’t chew, can’t be nourished. // To the point where it’s only noteworthy when Marcus is not in the WSJ. // Whose bright idea was supersizing spice jars? // Surimi is not food. // You cap the K before lime because Key is a place. // Things that are one word: Potpie. Snickerdoodles. // Ridiculousness of the day: “amateur chef.” // New rule: If you have to sniff it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.
Big week: You can finally throw out the barely touched fresh cranberry sauce from last Thanksgiving. // Wonder if the people at the high-minded farm-reformation forum who are arguing for eating insects pitch their King Arthur flour when it hatches. . . // Pro-tip: Always use 1900 as your birthdate on entering liquor sites. Makes ‘em drink more. // Your wine should never cost more than your turkey. // Note to flacks: If your client is charging for the food, it’s not aperitivo. // Pumpkin in chili is one of the best ideas ever. In anything chocolate? Squanto would retch. // Even ghostwriters have ghostwriters. // It figures a fatal outbreak of listeria would be linked to a company called Wholesome Soy Products. // Probably not a good thing when you can’t tell whether the splotches on the menu are design or grease spots. // Gluten-free gelatin is in the house. Hope no one sensitive learns what it really contains. . . // Tagine = failure?
I’m so old I remember when people complained that soda was cheaper than water. . . // Language debasement continues: “Culinary nutritionist”? The fuck! // Best lemon-tart filling advice ever: “Beat it like it owes you money.” // Spritz or sponsored? You decide. // “Senza Expense Account” would be a helluva wine blog. // Hate it when I cut into an expensive cheese and think I could mop the floor with it. // Trying to figure out why there would be an expiry date on a box of sugar. // Culinary is a long-winded way of saying food. // I can be the food shrink for the holidays: Throw out all the hysterical “advice.” Just marinate your guests. // Two more in head-scratching: a burger described as a delicacy and a tarte Tatin as a confection. // When guests say “I don’t want to make you have to cook,” I hear: “Please fucking don’t.” // Outlaw superlatives and you put fud magazine cover-line writers out of biz. // Was a dentist what invented Halloween, no? // If you love something you should spell it right — it’s La Lunchonette for a very good reason.